I wasn't sure if I was going to title this post "Protecting Sabbath" or "Taking back Sabbath". I have been thinking about what Sabbath means for a while now, and this is a little of what I have been learning:
Sabbath is a time set apart for rest and worship. With today's busy lifestyles - this seems like mission impossible.
A month ago my family went on a last minute trip out to British Columbia to spend some time with family. 2 days of driving, 4 days of visiting/doing touristy things and 2 days of driving home. During our drive time my husband I were talking about all the work we had to do to prepare to leave for a week and then all the work we had to catch up on when we returned. It was so overwhelming that it made it feel like it wasn't a holiday at all. While we are thankful for a little time away, the idea of the piles of work makes us never want to take a holiday again.
I feel the same way when I think about Sabbath, my day of rest, my time to worship. Weekends seem so short, I have so much to do - how will I be prepared for Monday if I don't run around like a mad woman for two days straight?
What if I prepared for Sabbath, the same way that I prepare for a vacation. What if I make Sabbath sacred?
Sabbath isn't about rules. It's about relationship. I am taking away from this relationship if I am running my daughters to sports practice or pushing my shopping cart around the grocery store. I am stealing from this relationship instead of building into it.
My youngest went to a birthday sleepover party from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. This bothered me - it bothered my daughter as well. Which I am thankful for. We contacted the family to see if it could be changed, I understand the reasoning as to why it was planned this way, but I enjoy my family being together on Sundays. I really prayed for wisdom as to how to handle this situation. I didn't want to say, "You have to go to Church!" That is making it legalistic and we all know that teens love that! (you can read my blog post on "Why young people are leaving the church") I can honestly say that I was surprised with what came out of my mouth - I told my daughter that it is important to spend time with our Church family.
All the definitions and explanations I found in my research on Sabbath were all about rest and worship. But I want to add a third ingredient: family.
This has totally changed my perspective on how I view going to church each Sunday and setting apart a dedicated day of rest. When I walk into the church doors on Sunday I now see it as a family reunion - spending time worshiping with family. This has freed to me to worship in a place I didn't know existed before. I know there are several people that I could go to if I need a hug or someone to pray with. The Carleton's are generally the last ones to leave because we visit until the bitter end, (I need to start packing snacks so that we aren't beyond the "I have to eat now!" phase.) I especially love the week when it is Soup on Sunday because we can visit and eat!
Our church is a part of our family. Families are dysfunctional, families members hurt each other, families learn and grow together.
My life is not perfect - I do not look for perfection - I want to learn and grow.
My Sabbath is now a time of rest, worship and family. It needs to be protected. My family deserves this. I need to be an example of this to our daughters. It is something that I am learning and it needs discipline.
I made a screen saver for my cell phone (on picmonkey) so when I turn on the home screen it is a picture that says Sabbath across it. This is my reminder to put my phone down and build into what is important and sacred for this one day.
What does Sabbath look like for you?